Today we´re going to talk about this novel set in the Mortal Kingdoms ( Age of Sigmar ).
Title : Gloomspite.
Author : Andy Clark.
Publisher : Timun Mas.
Year : 2020.
Pages : 320.
Gloomspite by Andy Clark is a novel that oozes pus mixed with blood and reeks of curdled milk. It’s probably the most grotesque story ever set in the new world of Age of Sigmar . That is why we strongly discourage its reading to all warhammerwho suffers from hematophobia or suffers when a pimple is headed. Every two to three pages thousands of corpses are eaten by foul insects that spread rot throughout the Sigmarite city of Draconium and living bodies are subjected to spontaneous and very painful mutations that include bursting eye sockets and bluish veins streaking the skins to rupture. The author has no qualms about placing us shamelessly in what pretends to be a city, Draconium, close to its disappearance. A rigidly established city that reminds us of that Nuln in decline and full of worshipers of the Chaos gods that we saw in William King’s Mataskavens .
Gloomspite , contrary to any expectation that we might have before the imminent reading of a novel of gods and heroes, becomes throughout its pages an interesting exposition, raw and direct, of the evils that plague society when it has forgotten the reasons why it decided to establish itself and the justice that it once decided to defend and has indulged in the frenzy of the most banal pleasures.
The characters in this novel are not the mercenaries under whose movements the action that moves the plot falls, which we like anyway, but the city of Draconium and its people as they rise to the center of all hopes and misfortunes. The mercenaries, with the sorry Hendrick at the helm, are but the bolts that unite the continuity of the plot, but as we say they do not monopolize the attention of what, we believe, Andy Clark seeks to express with his novel.
It is eloquent that until well into the second half of the book there are hardly any battles; not even the odd blow from Racontador, the mace carried by the mercenary leader Hendrick. It gives us the impression that Andy Clark seeks, above all, to create an environment of hopelessness, bewilderment and despair with which to prepare the spirits of a reader who, perhaps, has begun his reading with the prejudice that a novel with a background of gods and heroes could provoke him. Far from this, from being a narrative about the abstract existence of supraterrestrial entities, Gloomspite is such an old-fashioned novel that it can even evoke the atmosphere, on the other hand so beloved among geeks like me, of the old warhammer novelsFantasy that they often made of men of flesh and blood, with their
most superficial fears and most human ambitions, the target of their misadventures.
Draconium is a city in decline. It is bordered by menacing volcanoes and mountains veiled by a gigantic blanket of fog that casts an infinite shadow. Their existence is confined between high walls and in complete isolation, because in this way they manage to avoid the repeated incursions of the chaotic and the green tide. Its citizens, delivered to the ecstasy of a life devoid of the meaning that Selvador, the regent, had surely tried to elevate spiritually with the founding of the city, are driven with resignation to endure a constant acid and burning rain that forces them to to shut themselves up in their precarious homes, whose roofs they pierce. And now, to add one more pull, Draconium is besieged from within by a strange and malignant influence that nobody knows where it comes from but that leaves every day in the most unexpected place, both among the richest and the poorest neighborhoods, a trail of victims marked by the most mutations. implausible and repulsive. Inside the fortified city an invisible battle is fought; a battle that does not grant truce even to the supposed protagonists and that we will experience, if we have empathized with them, with some astonishment.
A monstrous celestial body rises through the sky of Draconium. And the strangest thing of all is that a face with a sardonic laugh and edged with sharp fangs seems to glimpse in him. A yellowish, demonic face, like that of a goblin. What the hell is it and who summoned it? The title of the novel, and the fantastic drawing that crowns its cover, does not leave room for doubt. But whoever wants to know its ins and outs, to know what dark spell those accursed creatures use, will then have to read the little more than three hundred pages that the Timun Mas publishing house makes available to the most courageous reader and free of hypochondria.
I highly recommend reading it to anyone who misses the old fantasy elf, dwarf and human novels. It moves away from the stereotypes that the heroic feats of the Stormcast Eternals can instill in us and that find their embodiment in books such as Nurgl e’s Garden or the tetralogy The Realmgate Wars , and shows us that the interdimensional and abstract world of Age of SigmarIt is also an ideal place for Gothic cities, twilight skies, decadent processions, drunken fights, disenchanted city guards, grumpy and nostalgic dwarfs nostalgic for their gods and their homeland, dark dungeons in whose farthest corners await antediluvian creatures and, ultimately , all those elements that for some constitute the material of which the best classical fantasy is made.
NOTE : If I gave The Realmgate Wars a 6.5 and The Garden of Nurgle a 7.5, Gloomspite I put an 8. So you can see where I’m going.